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ENC 1101: Writing Academic Arguments

v. POPSMART: reading, writing & thinking critically through popular culture.


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Prompt #3
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kayleythomas wrote in uf_enc1101
After reading the "Fallacies of Argument" section in the book and the Powerpoint in the "Readings" section on e-Learning ("Fallacies of Argument"), take a stab at writing your own logical fallacies:

1. Pick a topic: cosmetic surgery, consumerism, masculinity or femininity (ie. cultural assumptions of what it means to be a man or woman), smoking, violence in video games, or a similar subject of your own choosing (something in society you could make an argument about). Identify the topic.


2. Decide what you're going to argue about this topic - women shouldn't get cosmetic surgery because... or America is too consumerist... etc. Identify the argument.


3. Write a logical fallacy for this argument, choosing from the list in the book or the powerpoint (they're mostly the same, with a few different ones in each). Identify the fallacy type you've chosen.

4. Tell me how you might turn the fallacy into a fair, accurate argument - what would you have to do differently, based upon our Logos reading?
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The Florida Gators have the best team in college football this season. Either they win the national championship, or the season will turn out a failure. Because they are so talented, anything less than the best would be disappointing.

This argument seems a bit extreme to me, because I'll still be a Gator fan regardless. Even if they do lose a regular season game, they could still make it to a big bowl game which they would probably win. However, you could make this a fair argument by stating that 90% (or so) of the country expects them to win the national championship.

Logical Fallacy: (Appeal to Pity)

Everyday people around the nation or even the world are pulled over by officers. They argue all types of reasons to the authority to avoid recieving a citation or random vehicle search. Commen sense tells us that if you break a violation such as runnig or red light or speeding can lead yourself to a prediclament like this. Depending on how effective your excuse is, you may escape the fine with just a pat on the rist. nine times out of ten an officer would understand a driver for speeding if their wife was going into labor rather than him having an urgent restroom emergency!

Since you are Colombian, you must like coffee and/or have cocaine.

This is a hasty generalization.People base their argument in what they have seen in the news; in the case of cocaine. And what they find when they are shopping;Colombian coffee. Just because this is the only information that they have heard about Colombia, doesn't mean that all the population is in the business of cocaine, and consumes coffee.

To turn this Fallacy into a fair accurate argument I would find statistics about how many Colombians like coffee and what is the percentage of people in the cocaine business. This way this argument would be fair. Because now I can say "8% of the population is involved in the cocaine business" according to a study, that its accurate and isn't biased.

Topic: violence in video games

Argument: Video games are excessively violent.

Slippery slope/ logical fallacy: Video games are excessively violent. If nothing is done to eliminate the extremely violent nature of video games, surely shot and stab wounds will become more common place not only in our schools but in everyday society.

To make this fallacy a fair argument I would state how video games can lead to more violent actions but not that they necessarily do. I could make this argument more accurate by providing a statistic demonstrating how much more violence occurs in schools and in society as a direct result of violent video games. I could also make it clear that violent video games are not the only factor in increased violence.

That man is acting like a complete drunk. Alcohol should be banned

This is a hasty generalization concluded from observing one drunk man, and now the next step is to ban alcohol altogether. Just because one man gets drunk when he drinks doesn't mean adults can't drink alcohol without becoming incoherent. This is a bad "sample" to make such a grand decision of banning alcohol.

To make this argument into a logical one, one would have to find statistics and testimonies that would make the argument stronger. Either find facts that support the issue of banning alcohol, or the other way around. This would limit the bias and fallacy.

Fallacies of Argument (Appeal to pity)

Argument: Legalizing abortion allows teenagers to think its ok to get pregnant and its ok to kill another human being.

Legalizing abortion just makes teenagers believe if they make a mistake and get pregnant well its ok I can just get rid of it and go back to my normal life. Act like nothing happened. They can keep making this mistake while doing this can hurt their bodies and don’t forget the fact that their killing another person.

To make this fallacy a fair argument I would say legalizing abortion leads to more teenagers having sex, more STDs and HIV cases, and less babies actually born in the world. I could make this argument more accurate by doing surveys/polls, interviews, and even some common sense!!!

Men shouldn't smoke because second hand smoking also kills, and it mainly affects young and innocent children.

I used a sentimental appeal fallacies. If I were to make an argument I would focus on how children raised by smoking parents are more likely to get cancer than those children raised by non smoking parents, and thus i would be affecting the readers in a sentimental aspect.

Appeal to False Authority:
An example would be that Oprah says on her show that in order to stay in shape, you must take this pill X. Since Oprah is a widely respected person, people tend to believe what she says even though Oprah herself has had constant weight problems throughout her life.

“Since Oprah believes this pill will work, it must really work because she is a reputable authority.”

To make this more logical, Oprah should get a doctor on her show. Then, he or she should explain and give reasoning why and how this pill X really helps people lose weight in a healthy way. The doctor must be honest and give both the positive and negative effects from pill X.

Fallacies of Argument

Cosmetic Surgery

Cosmetic surgery is unnecessary, and it gives teen girls a false image to look up to that is present by the mass media.

Bandwagon appeal: Teen girls are seduced by ideas approved by popular culture.Society presents these perfect images of women that are all lies. Teen girls believe that because everyone does it, it's okay to have cosmetic surgery to improve your image. But what teen girls don’t realize is the risks involve with doing cosmetic surgery. Teen girls need to start accepting and loving themselves for who they are.

I would have to provide facts and statistics to persuade my readers that my argument is correct. The best way of accomplishing this goal is doing a survey that best represents the population. Teen girls are not the only group influenced by images endorsed by society.

Fallacies of Argument

Hasty Generalization

Owners of successful businesses only oversee the process of how their businesses run and only check in from time to time. Therefore, people assume that those who run successful businesses have gratuitous amounts of time for relaxation. This is false, there are many factors that affect the leisure of the owner and the success of the business, especially the size and type of business you're dealing with.

Ex: "My Uncle owns a popular store, he only checks in to see how the employees and managers are functioning. My Uncle always spends more time at home. I guess that all people who own popular stores have it easy."

Counter Example: My parents own a successful business, after perfecting the system of operation over time, their restaurant practically runs itself. However, they are constantly present and active to make sure it stays successful (system runs smoothly), therefore they do not have as much leisure time as everyone thinks they do.

Hasty Generalization

If you a Haitian in America, you came to America on a boat and you are an immigrant.

The news on television show the many Haitians coming to America on boats. Yes, they were refugees but this point was really stressed aand also the fact that they were fleeing the bad conditions under which they had to live. No one really has heard or really known anything about Haiti before this so the ignorance of American and other people lead them to ask anyone of that nationality if they came on a boat.

To make this fallacy more logical, we could show that only a small amount of Haitian people for that specific period traveled to America on boats. Then we could compare and show the statistical difference of those Haitians and the Haitians that had been here prior to that period. This will prove that the amount of Haitians that took boats is very small in percentage compared to ones that take the plane and enter the country legally.

My parents had a terrible time at Ruby Tuesdays. Therefore, Ruby Tuesdays is the worst restaurant.

This is obviously a hasty generalization. Even though my parents had a bad time at Ruby Tuesdays, that does not mean everyone will have a bad experience. If everyone had a bad time at this restaurant, it would have closed down long ago.

To make this argument more fair you could have shown both sides to it. Even though my parents had a bad time, what about the couple sitting next to them? That couple left a larger tip on the table, guess that means they had a better time. You could also stat statistics about the restaurant or the quality of it.


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